After years of uncertainty and temporary coaches, the Bulkley Valley Otters swim club is preparing for a new coach – this time one that can hopefully bring some stability to the club’s young swimmers.
Mike Hoppe will be moving with his wife and three children from rural Oregon in September, and is looking forward not only to coaching a new group of swimmers, but to offering his own children the chance to take part in a swim team.
“The opportunities for them here are rather limited,” he said.
Hoppe and his family are currently living on a tree farm in Cottage Grove, after taking a bit of a sabbatical from coaching. He said he’s looking forward to the mix of town and rural life here.
“Oftentimes in the small communities it’s kind of a tradeoff. The quality of life for us is very enjoyable, but in some respects opportunities might be a little bit more limited, whereas Smithers appears to have quite a few opportunities for the little ones,” he said.
Hoppe has coached swimming and water polo for over 20 years. He has coached swimmers including Far Western Champions and High Point Award Winners, U.S. Junior and Senior National qualifiers, California Interscholastic Federation Champions, high school and junior college All Americans, and Pan American Games qualifiers and finalists.
Despite his extensive experience, Hoppe said he still very much enjoys working with new swimmers as they develop from beginners.
“We’re hoping to reach out and draw more members of the community into the program, and I suppose I wanted to make it clear that, although I’ve coached at some relatively high levels, I am eager to work with kids of all ability levels and entry level swimmers,” he said.